june 2015 – the art of dissent [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmW7oTXgtQ8]
adding page this day:
Nicolas Berggruen (@NBerggruen) tweeted at 9:06 AM – 24 Apr 2017 :
Chinese artist-activist @aiww at @Qatar_Museums ‘Today we have more fences than ever’
https://t.co/R5DaJyySqQ @TheNationalUAE (http://twitter.com/NBerggruen/status/856524725647949824?s=17)
“I don’t care what they call me. I never wanted to be called anything,”
“I have a lot of curiosity,” he says. “I have a habit to document something I witness but is larger than I can understand.”
“Today we have more fences than ever,” says Ai. “People are trying to separate and they try to picture others as a potential danger, trying to divide the people as different groups. I think this is a really dangerous condition, for politicians to use this kind of hatred.”
He is also finishing a documentary called Human Flow, which takes a hard look at the global refugee crisis. The United Nations estimates 65.3 million people were displaced by conflict and persecution in 2015 alone, a record number. Ai set out to meet some of them, travelling to more than 40 refugee camps in two years.
refugee camps ness..
They’re part of us, we are part of them – there’s no way we can escape this,” he says of the refugees. “There’s no way you can turn your eyes away, to say: ‘I don’t see them, it’s not my problem.’ This is not possible. We have to help them.”
Ai’s own experience as a refugee provides some insight into the emotion behind his recent work. In 1958, the year after he was born, the Communist Party of China denounced his father, poet Ai Qing, as an enemy of the people and banned him from writing. The family ended up in exile in labour camps in Xinjiang province. As a boy, Ai watched as his father cleaned toilets in the summer and broke ice in winter. He says that though his dad was not allowed to be a poet, his life was poetry.
The family returned to Beijing in 1976. Ai studied animation and moved to New York City in the 1980s. He went back to China in 1993, where he supported experimental artists, fought for human rights and investigated government corruption.
In 2011, he was arrested and detained for 81 days without charge. He was later accused of owing tax and failing to pay fines. After his release he remained under surveillance and was not allowed to leave China until 2015.
“The system there is very much aggressive and brutal,” says Ai. But he continued to create and inspire through his art and activism. He now uses social media to get his message out.
“I don’t think I’d be who I am today without social media,” he says. “Today is very different. You can express yourself. It’s possible to have your voice heard.”
plan to spend part of today here…
Ai Weiwei (Chinese: 艾未未; pinyin: Ài Wèiwèi,); born 28 August 1957 in Beijing) is a Chinese Contemporary artist and activist. His father’s (Ai Qing) original surname was written Jiang (蔣). Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadiumfor the 2008 Olympics. As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government’s stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called “tofu-dreg schools” in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing Capital International Airport on 3 April, he was held for 81 days without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of “economic crimes
Early life and work
Ai’s father was the Chinese poet Ai Qing, who was denounced during the Anti-Rightist Movement. In 1958, the family was sent to a labour camp in Beidahuang, Heilongjiang, when Ai was one year old. They were subsequently exiled to Shihezi, Xinjiang in 1961, where they lived for 16 years. Upon Mao Zedong’s death and the end of the Cultural Revolution, the family returned to Beijing in 1976.
In 1978, Ai enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy and studied animation. In 1978, he was one of the founders of the early avant garde art group the “Stars”, together with Ma Desheng, Wang Keping, Huang Rui, Li Shuang, Zhong Acheng and Qu Leilei. The group disbanded in 1983, yet Ai participated in regular Stars group shows, The Stars: Ten Years, 1989 (Hanart Gallery, Hong Kong and Taipei), and a retrospective exhibition in Beijing in 2007: Origin Point (Today Art Museum, Beijing
From 1981 to 1993, he lived in the United States. For the first few years, Ai lived in Philadelphia and San Francisco, he studied English at the University of Pennsylvania and Berkeley. Later, he moved to New York City. He studied briefly at Parsons School of Design. Ai attended the Art Students League of New York from 1983 to 1986, where he studied with Bruce Dorfman, Knox Martin and Richard Pousette-Dart. He later dropped out of school, and made a living out of drawing street portraits and working odd jobs. During this period, he gained exposure to the works of Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns, and began creating conceptual art by altering readymade objects.
Ai befriended beat poet Allen Ginsberg while living in New York, following a chance meeting at a poetry reading where Ginsberg read out several poems about China. Ginsberg had travelled to China and met with Ai’s father, the noted poet Ai Qing, and consequently Ginsberg and Ai became friends.
When he was living in the East Village (from 1983 to 1993), Ai carried a camera with him all the time and would take pictures of his surroundings wherever he was. The resulting collection of photos were later selected and is now known as the New York Photographs.
At the same time, Ai became fascinated by blackjack card games and frequented Atlantic City casinos. He is still regarded in gambling circles as a top tier professional blackjack player according to an article published on blackjackchamp.com.
n 1993, Ai returned to China after his father became ill. He helped establish the experimental artists’ Beijing East Village and co-published a series of three books about this new generation of artists with Chinese curator Feng Boyi: Black Cover Book (1994), White Cover Book (1995), and Gray Cover Book (1997).
In 1999, Ai moved to Caochangdi, in the northeast of Beijing, and built a studio house – his first architectural project. Due to his interest in architecture, he founded the architecture studio FAKE Design, in 2003. In 2000, he co-curated the art exhibition Fuck Off with curator Feng Boyi in Shanghai, China.
Ai is married to artist Lu Qing, and has a son from an extramarital relationship.
In 2005, Ai was invited to start blogging by Sina Weibo, the biggest internet platform in China. He posted his first blog on 19 November. For four years, he “turned out a steady stream of scathing social commentary, criticism of government policy, thoughts on art and architecture, and autobiographical writings.” The blog was shut down by Sina on 28 May 2009. Ai then turned to Twitter and wrote prolifically on the platform, claiming at least eight hours online every day. He wrote almost exclusively in Chinese using the account @aiww. As of 31 December 2013, Ai has declared that he would stop tweeting but the account remains active in forms of retweets and Instagram posts.
Citizens’ Investigation on Sichuan earthquake student casualties
Ten days after the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan province on 12 May 2008, Ai led a team to survey and film the post-quake conditions in various disaster zones. In response to the government’s lack of transparency in revealing names of students who perished in the earthquake due to substandard school campus constructions, Ai recruited volunteers online and launched a “Citizens’ Investigation” to compile names and information of the student victims. On 20 March 2009, he posted a blog titled “Citizens’ Investigation” and wrote: “To remember the departed, to show concern for life, to take responsibility, and for the potential happiness of the survivors, we are initiating a “Citizens’ Investigation.” We will seek out the names of each departed child, and we will remember them.”
As of 14 April 2009, the list had accumulated 5,385 names. Ai published the collected names as well as numerous articles documenting the investigation on his blog which was shut down by Chinese authorities in May 2009. He also posted his list of names of schoolchildren who died on the wall of his office at FAKE Design in Beijing.
Ai suffered headaches and claimed he had difficulty concentrating on his work since returning from Chengdu in August 2009, where he was beaten by the police for trying to testify for Tan Zuoren, a fellow investigator of the shoddy construction and student casualties in the earthquake. On 14 September 2009, Ai was diagnosed to be suffering internal bleeding in a hospital in Munich, Germany, and the doctor arranged for emergency brain surgery. The cerebral hemorrhageis believed to be linked to the police attack.
According to the Financial Times, in an attempt to force Ai to leave the country, two accounts used by him had been hacked in a sophisticated attack on Google in China dubbed Operation Aurora, their contents read and copied; his bank accounts were investigated by state security agents who claimed he was under investigation for “unspecified suspected crimes”.
Shanghai studio controversy
In November 2010, Ai was placed under house arrest by the Chinese police. He said this was to prevent the planned party marking the demolition of his newly built Shanghai studio.
The building was designed and built by Ai upon encouragement and persuasion from a “high official [from Shanghai]” as part of a new cultural area designated by Shanghai Municipal authorities; Ai would have used it as a studio and to teach architecture courses. But now Ai has been accused of erecting the structure without the necessary planning permission and a demolition notice has been ordered, even though, Ai said, officials had been extremely enthusiastic, and the entire application and planning process was “under government supervision”. According to Ai, a number of artists were invited to build new studios in this area of Shanghai because officials wanted to create a cultural area.
On 3 November 2010, Ai said the government had informed him two months earlier that the newly completed studio would be knocked down because it was illegal. Ai complained that this was unfair, as he was “the only one singled out to have my studio destroyed”. The Guardian reported Ai saying Shanghai municipal authorities were “frustrated” by documentaries on subjects they considered sensitive: two of the better known ones featured Shanghai resident Feng Zhenghu, who lived in forced exile for three months in Narita Airport, Tokyo; another well-known documentary focused on Yang Jia, who murdered six Shanghai police officers.
In the end, the party took place without Ai’s presence; his supporters feasted on river crab, an allusion to “harmony”, and a euphemism used to jeer official censorship. Ai was released from house arrest the next day.
Like other activists and intellectuals, Ai was prevented from leaving China in late 2010. Ai suggested that the authorities wanted to prevent him from attending the ceremony in December 2010 to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to fellow dissident Liu Xiaobo. Ai said that he had not been invited to the ceremony, and was attempting to travel to South Korea for a meeting when he was told that he could not leave for reasons of national security.
In the evening of 11 January 2011, Ai’s studio was demolished in a surprise move by the local government.
On 3 April 2011, Ai was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport just before catching a flight to Hong Kong and his studio facilities were searched. A police contingent of approximately 50 officers came to his studio, threw a cordon around it and searched the premises. They took away laptops and the hard drive from the main computer; along with Ai, police also detained eight staff members and Ai’s wife, Lu Qing. Police also visited the mother of Ai’s two-year-old son. While state media originally reported on 6 April that Ai was arrested at the airport because “his departure procedures were incomplete,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on 7 April that Ai was arrested under investigation for alleged economic crimes. Then, on 8 April, police returned to Ai’s workshop to examine his financial affairs. On 9 April, Ai’s accountant, as well as studio partner Liu Zhenggang and driver Zhang Jingsong, disappeared, while Ai’s assistant Wen Tao has remained missing since Ai’s arrest on 3 April. Ai’s wife said that she was summoned by the Beijing Chaoyang district tax bureau, where she was interrogated about his studio’s tax on 12 April. South China Morning Post reports that Ai received at least two visits from the police, the last being on 31 March – three days before his detention – apparently with offers of membership to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. A staff member recalled that Ai had mentioned receiving the offer earlier, “[but Ai] didn’t say if it was a membership of the CPPCC at the municipal or national level, how he responded or whether he accepted it or not.”
On 24 February, amid an online campaign for Middle East-style protests in major Chinese cities by overseas dissidents, Ai posted on his Twitter account: “I didn’t care about jasmine at first, but people who are scared by jasmine sent out information about how harmful jasmine is often, which makes me realize that jasmine is what scares them the most. What a jasmine!”
Response to Ai’s arrestSee also: Free Ai Weiwei street art campaign
Analysts and other activists said Ai had been widely thought to be untouchable, but Nicholas Bequelin from Human Rights Watch suggested that his arrest, calculated to send the message that no one would be immune, must have had the approval of someone in the top leadership. International governments, human rights groups and art institutions, among others, called for Ai’s release, while Chinese officials did not notify Ai’s family of his whereabouts.
State media started describing Ai as a “deviant and a plagiarist” in early 2011. The China Daily subsidiary, the Global Times editorial on 6 April 2011 attacked Ai, saying “Ai Weiwei likes to do something ‘others dare not do.’ He has been close to the red line of Chinese law. Objectively speaking, Chinese society does not have much experience in dealing with such persons. However, as long as Ai Weiwei continuously marches forward, he will inevitably touch the red line one day.” Two days later, the journal scorned Western media for questioning Ai’s charge as a “catch-all crime”, and denounced the use of his political activism as a “legal shield” against everyday crimes. It said “Ai’s detention is one of the many judicial cases handled in China every day. It is pure fantasy to conclude that Ai’s case will be handled specially and unfairly.” Frank Ching expressed in the South China Morning Post that how the Global Times could radically shift its position from one-day to the next was reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland
Michael Sheridan of The Times suggested that Ai had offered himself to the authorities on a platter with some of his provocative art, particularly photographs of himself nude with only a toy alpaca hiding his modesty – with a caption『草泥马挡中央』 (“grass mud horse covering the middle”). The term possesses a double meaning in Chinese: one possible interpretation was given by Sheridan as: “Fuck your mother, the party central committee”.
Ming Pao in Hong Kong reacted strongly to the state media’s character attack on Ai, saying that authorities had employed “a chain of actions outside the law, doing further damage to an already weak system of laws, and to the overall image of the country.” Pro-Beijing newspaper in Hong Kong, Wen Wei Po, announced that Ai was under arrest for tax evasion, bigamy and spreading indecent images on the internet, and vilified him with multiple instances of strong rhetoric. Supporters said “the article should be seen as a mainland media commentary attacking Ai, rather than as an accurate account of the investigation.”
The United States and European Union protested Ai’s detention. The international arts community also mobilised petitions calling for the release of Ai: “1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei” was organized by Creative Time of New York that calls for artists to bring chairs to Chinese embassies and consulates around the world on 17 April 2011, at 1 pm local time “to sit peacefully in support of the artist’s immediate release.” Artists in Hong Kong, Germany and Taiwan demonstrated and called for Ai to be released.
One of the major protests by U.S. museums took place on 19 and 20 May when the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego organized a 24-hour silent protest in which volunteer participants, including community members, media, and museum staff, occupied two traditionally styled Chinese chairs for one-hour periods. The 24-hour sit-in referenced Ai’s sculpture series, Marble Chair, two of which were on view and were subsequently acquired for the Museum’s permanent collection.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the International Council of Museums, which organised petitions, said they had collected more than 90,000 signatures calling for the release of Ai. On 13 April 2011, a group of European intellectuals led by Václav Havel had issued an open letter to Wen Jiabao, condemning the arrest and demanding the immediate release of Ai. The signatories include Ivan Klíma, Jiří Gruša, Jáchym Topol, Elfriede Jelinek, Adam Michnik, Adam Zagajewski, Helmuth Frauendorfer; Bei Ling (Chinese:贝岭), a Chinese poet in exile drafted and also signed the open letter.
On 16 May 2011, the Chinese authorities allowed Ai’s wife to visit him briefly. Liu Xiaoyuan, his attorney and personal friend, reported that Wei was in good physical condition and receiving treatment for his chronic diabetes and hypertension; he was not in a prison or hospital but under some form of house arrest.
He is the subject of the 2012 documentary film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, directed by American filmmaker Alison Klayman, which received a special jury prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and opened the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, North America’s largest documentary festival, in Toronto on 26 April 2012.
On 22 June 2011, the Chinese authorities released Ai from jail after almost three months’ detention on charges of tax evasion. Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. (Chinese: 北京发课文化公司), a company Ai controlled, had allegedly evaded taxes and intentionally destroyed accounting documents. State media also reports that Ai was granted bail on account of Ai’s “good attitude in confessing his crimes”, willingness to pay back taxes, and his chronic illnesses. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, he is prohibited from leaving Beijing without permission for one year. Ai’s supporters widely viewed his detention as retaliation for his vocal criticism of the government. On 23 June 2011, professor Wang Yujin of China University of Political Science and Law stated that the release of Ai on bail shows that the Chinese government could not find any solid evidence of Ai’s alleged “economic crime”. On 24 June 2011, Ai told a Radio Free Asia reporter that he was thankful for the support of the Hong Kong public, and praised Hong Kong’s conscious society. Ai also mentioned that his detention by the Chinese regime was hellish (Chinese: 九死一生), and stressed that he is forbidden to say too much to reporters.
After his release, his sister gave some details about his detention condition to the press, explaining that he was subjected to a kind of psychological torture: he was detained in a tiny room with constant light, and two guards were set very close to him at all times, and watched him constantly. In November, Chinese authorities were again investigating Ai and his associates, this time under the charge of spreading pornography. Lu was subsequently questioned by police, and released after several hours though the exact charges remain unclear. In January 2012, in its International Review issue Art in America magazine featured an interview with Ai Weiwei at his home in China. J.J. Camille (the pen name of a Chinese-born writer living in New York), “neither a journalist nor an activist but simply an art lover who wanted to talk to him” had travelled to Beijing the previous September to conduct the interview and to write about his visit to “China’s most famous dissident artist” for the magazine.
On 21 June 2012, Ai’s bail was lifted. Although he is allowed to leave Beijing, the police informed him that he is still prohibited from traveling to other countries because he is “suspected of other crimes,” including pornography, bigamy and illicit exchange of foreign currency. Until 2015, he remained under heavy surveillance and restrictions of movement, but continues to criticize through his work. In July 2015, he was given a passport and may travel abroad.
THIS IS A MUST READ PIECE BY @aiww and has important lessons for us here in the US Ai Weiwei: How Censorship Works https://t.co/mYRoSGlxa0
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/dgatterdam/status/861232191388385281
People feign ignorance and speak in ambiguities.
The content offered by the Chinese state media, after its processing by political censors, is not free information. It is information that has been chosen, filtered and assigned its place, inevitably restricting the free and independent will of readers and viewers.
sounds like ie: school.. esp when we claim stuvoice .. spinach or rock ness
The harm of a censorship system is not just that it impoverishes intellectual life; it also fundamentally distorts the rational order in which the natural and spiritual worlds are understood. The censorship system relies on robbing a person of the self-perception that one needs in order to maintain an independent existence. It cuts off one’s access to independence and happiness.
Whenever the state controls or blocks information, it not only reasserts its absolute power; it also elicits from the people whom it rules a voluntary submission to the system and an acknowledgment of its dominion. This, in turn, supports the axiom of the debased: Accept dependency in return for practical benefits
voluntary compliance ness.. killing us
The act of kowtowing to power in order to receive small pleasures may seem minor; but without it, the brutal assault of the censorship system would not be possible.
For people who accept this passive position toward authority, “getting by” becomes the supreme value. They smile, bow and nod their heads, and such behavior usually leads to lifestyles that are comfortable, trouble free and even cushy. This attitude is essentially defensive on their part. It is obvious that in any dispute, if one side is silenced, the words of the other side will go unquestioned
That’s what we have here in China: The self-silenced majority, sycophants of a powerful regime, resentful of people like me who speak out, are doubly bitter because they know that their debasement comes by their own hand. Thus self-defense also becomes self-comfort.
The system rewards ordinary people for their cooperation automatically; there is no need for them to compete for the rewards.
1 hr doc – oct 2015 – A stunning and stirring documentary by Andreas Johnsen shows how the government’s attempts to silence Ai Weiwei have turned him into China’s most powerful artist and an irrepressible voice for free speech and human rights around the globe.
6 min – we’re all victimized by the system
8 min – everything is about taking orders
30 min – i think.. if i don’t show my voice.. if i don’t act how i’ve always believed .. then i think i’m dead already
38 min – i will make the whole thing change.. just one month.. it’s enough
There’s no refugee crisis, but only human crisis…
@aiww in @narodnigalerie #Prague /#Praha shows Low Of The Journey
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/altPRAGUEguide/status/868080372499849217
Weiwei pays a powerful tribute to the human tragedy of the present moment as well as to humankind’s eternal desire for home and a sense of a belonging.
艾未未 Ai Weiwei (@aiww) tweeted at 5:02 AM – 28 May 2017 :
Trump, Ai Weiwei and Israel: The Clash of Ideologies https://t.co/OWC3S2uOI9(http://twitter.com/aiww/status/868784637241380865?s=17)
艾未未 Ai Weiwei (@aiww) tweeted at 5:17 AM – 3 Jun 2017 :
explore the meaning of public space in our surveillance-laden world, referencing the story of Hansel and Gretel in which the children lose their way and feel a sense of menace in a space they know and trust.
Galleria Continua (@GContinua) tweeted at 2:21 AM – 7 Jun 2017 :
Ai Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron turn the Park Avenue Armory into a panopticon playground @aiww @ParkAveArmory https://t.co/lq0DQdB3Xk (http://twitter.com/GContinua/status/872367954150739968?s=17)
艾未未 Ai Weiwei (@aiww) tweeted at 3:03 AM on Tue, Jun 20, 2017:
Today, I hold in my mind each face, each story, every bit of humanity I have encountered along the way. #WorldRefugeeDay #HUMANFLOW https://t.co/vGqP4qPrbX
Michelle Peterie (@MichPeterie) tweeted at 4:12 PM on Tue, Jun 27, 2017:
Stunning installation by @aiww: 3,500 salvaged refugee life jackets displayed in windows of Kunsthal Charlottenborg
Vox (@voxdotcom) tweeted at 3:15 AM – 28 Jun 2017 :
Ai Weiwei has become a symbol of dissidence worldwide. It shows in his art. https://t.co/cZX65Joa4y(http://twitter.com/voxdotcom/status/879991517519237120?s=17)
Sreejith (@365newsbreak) tweeted at 2:24 AM – 28 Jun 2017 :
Chinese artist @aiww creates portraits of political prisoners using more than 1 million Lego bricks https://t.co/XWyZjWuO7z https://t.co/aliWgRS5mX (http://twitter.com/365newsbreak/status/879978890696900608?s=17)
Dazed (@Dazed) tweeted at 10:00 PM – 27 Jun 2017 :
A new doc traces @aiww’s journey into the refugee crisis: https://t.co/h85jyDwBIThttps://t.co/De4isQI22t (http://twitter.com/Dazed/status/879912241327243265?s=17)
The Art Newspaper (@TheArtNewspaper) tweeted at 3:41 AM – 4 Aug 2017 :
Ai Weiwei’s refugee film Human Flow picked up by @amazon https://t.co/tigv78O4EF @aiww @AmazonStudios @la_Biennale https://t.co/sftqiPvxGG (http://twitter.com/TheArtNewspaper/status/893406507219521537?s=17)
Grey Cross Studios (@GreyCrossStudio) tweeted at 6:02 PM – 9 Aug 2017 :
#AiWeiwei remakes with his son the odyssey of his father @aiww
Gianluca Costantini (@channeldraw) tweeted at 2:35 AM – 10 Aug 2017 :
Ai Weiwei – Human Flow
#BiennaleCinema2017 @la_Biennale @aiww https://t.co/2NBJ7AE0CB
#Venezia74 #Venezia #Italy https://t.co/HJ9RUDpkxk (http://twitter.com/channeldraw/status/895564182669541376?s=17)